There’s no point explaining the title when Atleti was just pronounced the La Liga champions. The game is no longer between Barcelona and Real Madrid. There’s just no away to ignore what Simeone turned Atletico Madrid into: a fair contender in both Spain and Europe.
Sure, we can argue that Barcelona and Real Madrid were a little frail the last couple of years, and Atletico used it to its advantage, but does it really matter? You can check live trends and statistics for 1,000 leagues and competitions, but perhaps the most interesting will be La Liga, because we can sense that there’s a turning point and we are driving straight against it.
One looks to Atleti’s squad and there’s no doubt that they are fair winners. In a season that Barcelona is trying to understand just exactly how to revive their level and live up to their story, and Real Madrid still finding its path after Ronaldo left, next year is an immense mistery.
Barcelona is off of cash, Real Madrid can’t decide exactly who to invest in, and Atletico is still trying to understand if Suarez will continue to perform, or if Felix will perform at all.
While I can’t see any other team snatching the title, I can’t definitively see a clear winner between these three.
Let’s see what they are up to:
Barcelona is in a bonafide crisis. Money isn’t properly flowing like it used to do, the squad is old, and the young players are still not performing at the level required to snatch the League and shine in Europe. Pedri was perhaps the most amazing discovery in La Masia, and will no doubt be a key player in the next season, but then again Ansu Fati is being tormented by continuous injuries, Dembele seems keener to play videogames than football, and the Suarez fiasco must have taken a toll on Barcelona’s Koeman. Depay and Wijnaldum are arriving, further elevating the number of Dutch players in the squad, and the rest of Barcelona’s market strategy is still a mystery, and will heavily depend in whether or not they can cash in on players that didn’t match the expectations.
Suarez was just a beast this season: and it seemed like every goal he scored was to prove Barcelona that they have made a mistake. Well, he made his point. Llorente had his season of affirmation, Jan Oblak remains as arguably the best goalkeeper in the whole world at this point, and Atleti’s midfield seems stronger than ever, with a mature Niguez acting like a maestro, while still aptly performing the defensive duties that Simeone is so keen on instilling in his team. If Félix appears next season, Atletico Madrid may very well do a double.
If there’s a Lion King in European Football, that Lion is Real Madrid. They accrue Champions League like some of the best teams accrue National League titles. Sure, some of their purchases were strange, and out of character, but there are still a bunch of players there able to perform at the highest level. Courtois, Varane, Kroos, Benzema, and now Alaba to replace Marcelo, Isco, and the young Vinicius finally stepping up his game, are just waiting for a injection of new blood to perhaps repeat what Ronaldo’s Real was able to do: conquer Spain and Europe alike. We all thought it would be Hazard, but it looks like now, as we stand, that perhaps only Haaland or the likes can level up the historically best team in all of Europe.